Academic journal article Oregon Historical Quarterly

Portland Youth Philharmonic (Portland Junior Symphony) Records (Coll 184) and Jacob Avshalomov Papers (Coll 183) Now Available at OHS Research Library

Academic journal article Oregon Historical Quarterly

Portland Youth Philharmonic (Portland Junior Symphony) Records (Coll 184) and Jacob Avshalomov Papers (Coll 183) Now Available at OHS Research Library

Article excerpt

In 1924, the Portland Junior Symphony Association recruited Russian conductor Jacques Gershkovitch to form a full youth orchestra, the first in the United States. Many of its first students had studied violin with local music teacher Mary Dodge, who had earlier founded and directed the acclaimed Sagebrush Symphony in Burns, Oregon. The Portland Junior Symphony soon became a model for youth orchestras around the country. Under Gershkovitch, Portland Junior Symphony performances entertained Oregon audiences and were heard on nationwide radio in the 1930s and internationally in the 1940s. Gershkovitch remained at the helm until his death in 1953, and he was succeeded by his former apprentice Jacob Avshalomov in 1954. The orchestra changed its name to the Portland Youth Philharmonic in 1978. Avshalomov, also an established composer, led the orchestra for forty years, including tours to the East Coast, Europe, and Japan and a sixtieth anniversary concert with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall under the direction of Leonard Bernstein. …

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